Thursday, March 28, 2013

Then and Now 62 - Pirate Park

Then and Now 62 - Pirate Park
Time: Mid-2007, single and at the hostel.

Jerry and I got acquainted on the internet and we met up in a part of the main city that I hadn't seen before. The train arrived in a wide, two story, indoor station which was covered with posters advertising coming events. It was also one of the few stations I had been to that had some potted plants around for decoration.

Outside, I saw a local watching me, and I knew it was Jerry. We introduced ourselves, and he asked what I wanted to do. I took out my subway map and pointed around our general area, seeing three different places that were labeled and looked interesting: a college, a park and an art expo.

The college was only a few blocks away, but it was a bit boring. It looked no different than the hundred buildings sitting around it, and its internals were blocked by the dorm rooms, so I couldn't see any courtyards, students or food courts around. So I decided to take us right on past it, and we headed farther down the road and down a few more blocks. On the way were several convenience stores and a freeway overpass that shaded us for a few seconds, but there wasn't much else to talk about.

The park was amazing. We arrived on the southeast side, which just happened to be right next to the huge art expo across the street. Jerry and I went inside and looked over a couple of swing sets and slides, but the main attraction was this huge pirate ship sitting in the middle of the park. It was constructed of polished wood, plastic and metal, and it was solid enough to climb. It even had massive cannons that looked real enough to fire pointing out of it. We weren't allowed inside, but Jerry and I looked at it from every angle while I snapped pictures, then complimented him on the craftsmanship of the people of his country to make such a great piece.

After that, we headed to the northwest, where there was a miniature forest to walk around in. The canopies were so thick that it was almost impossible to see the sun, except for a few rays that pierced the thick leaves in intermittent bursts of light. The ground was covered in leaves that crunched with every step, and we had some noisy company in the form of some kids running and laughing around us.

We left the park shortly after and headed towards the art expo. We passed under a huge overpass and over two separate, multi-lane roads with hundreds of anxious cars waiting for their turn at the green, and into a massive tent. Inside, there were hundreds of tables, and thousands of locals, eyeing and selling jewelry, plants, statues and other assorted luxuries. They were piping in some local music, and at that time, I was able to start picking out bits and pieces of the lyrics that I heard. I tried my best to tell Jerry what I thought they were saying, and though I only understood about 20% of the song, I got most of those parts right.

I guess most of the vendors there thought I was ignorant of the language because nobody tried to call me over to buy anything, so I got the chance to check out what they were selling without being hounded to actually get something. I especially liked the bunch of wooden animal statues that I saw in the back.

While walking around, Jerry and I talked about the foibles of each of our languages. I talked about there being no good reason to have to add the letter "S" to present tense verbs for he, she and it, and the foolishness of the past and perfect tenses when we could just add a separate word to the present tense to simplify the language ("I was run" being simpler than "I ran" or "I have eat" being easier than "I have eaten," for example). He told me of something silly about his language, but for anonymity's sake, I have to be vague on his point.

We were there for about an hour before we headed out. Nearing the train station, I asked Jerry if he wanted to come with me to another stop to continue traveling, but he said he had to head home. Being the master reader of tone, body language and semantics that I had become, I could tell that he was bored and wasn't expecting anything fun. I smiled and we said goodbye, then I went off to do something more exciting as a sort of quiet, sneaky payback to my new buddy.

As for today...

I woke up at 8:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I took my son to the arcade, then we went home.
I ate lunch.
I did the dishes.
I roughhoused with my son.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I went to work.
I taught students.
I came home.
I cleaned up the floor and table again.
I played video games.
I slept.

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